South Korea deploys inaugural military spy satellite into space


(MENAFN) South Korea marked a significant milestone on Friday by successfully launching its inaugural military spy satellite into space. The launch, conducted from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base, utilized SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and comes just over a week after North Korea claimed to have put its own spy satellite into orbit. The event is part of South Korea's broader initiative to deploy five spy satellites by 2025, as outlined in its contract with SpaceX. Initially scheduled earlier in the week, the launch was delayed due to adverse weather conditions.

This development is crucial for South Korea, which had previously relied on the United States' spy satellites for military reconnaissance, lacking an independent capability in space. The Defense Ministry of South Korea hailed the launch as a success, noting that the satellite established communication with an overseas ground station. The deployment is expected to provide South Korea with an autonomous space-based surveillance system, enhancing its capacity to monitor activities, particularly those related to North Korea.

The satellite launch is not only seen as a significant step toward bolstering South Korea's national security but also as a key component of the country's broader military strategy. The new capability is anticipated to contribute to the improvement of the South Korean military's preemptive missile strike capabilities, forming an integral part of its three-axis defense system, which encompasses missile defense and robust retaliatory capabilities.

Tensions between North and South Korea have heightened in recent weeks, with North Korea claiming the successful placement of its own spy satellite, named Malligyong-1, into orbit. The North Korean satellite has purportedly transmitted imagery featuring space views of prominent sites in the United States and South Korea, such as the White House and the Pentagon. However, as of now, North Korea has not released any of these satellite photos to the public. The simultaneous pursuit of satellite capabilities by both Koreas underscores the strategic significance of space assets in modern military operations and surveillance.

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